Wolf Administration Selected To Participate in Innovation Program to Address Treatment for Opioid Addiction
June 21, 2016
Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that Pennsylvania has been selected to participate in the highly competitive J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative in order to better study the most effective treatments for individuals struggling with opioid use disorder. J-PAL North America is a research center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative supports state and local governments in generating new and widely applicable lessons about which social programs are successful and why. Pennsylvania, along with Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, Rochester, and South Carolina were selected from among 25 applicants. As a participant of this program, Pennsylvania will receive an $82,000 grant and technical assistance and trainings from J-PAL to conduct their research.
“I’m thrilled that Pennsylvania will have the opportunity to participate in the J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Fighting Pennsylvania’s opioid and heroin epidemic is a top priority for my administration and we are committed to using rigorous evidence to find solutions to this urgent problem. On behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth, I look forward to working with J-PAL’s exceptional team of researchers to learn important lessons that will support the fight against the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic that is plaguing Pennsylvania and the nation.”
The United States is currently in the midst of a drug-overdose crisis. Since 2000, approximately 500,000 drug-overdose deaths have been recorded in the US. Between 2000 and 2014, the rate of deaths from drug overdose increased 137 percent, from 6.2 per 100,000 persons to 14.7 per 100,000 persons. With nearly 2,500 overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 according to the Pennsylvania Coroners Association and estimates that the 2015 total will be higher, the need to address this epidemic is dire.
The commonwealth will work with J-PAL North America in designing a randomized evaluation to assess the effectiveness of substance use disorder treatment combined with Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) across various levels of care, in order to assess the best treatment options for patients struggling with opioid use disorders across the continuum of care.
“Pennsylvania has shown themselves to be a leader in their commitment to using rigorous evidence to address some of the most pressing challenges facing state and local governments in the U.S.,” said Mary Ann Bates, Deputy Director of J-PAL North America and Co-Chair of the J-PAL State and Local Innovation Initiative.
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